Flipper @ The Marquis Theater, with Television Generation and Hot Apostles, Saturday, July 20, 8 p.m., 2009 Larimer St., Denver, $20/adv, $22/door, themarquistheater.com, 303/487-0111
The post-punk era was a breeding ground for musicians whose one claim to fame was the influence they had on subsequent artists. A textbook example is Flipper, the San Francisco sludge-rock band who gave us “Way of the World,” “Sex Bomb” and other seminal tracks that prefigured the grunge era by the better part of a decade. Kurt Cobain’s enthusiasm for the band was such that he made his own Flipper T-shirt with a black Sharpie and wore it on Saturday Night Live and in the music video for “Come as You Are.”
After Nirvana’s demise, bassist Krist Novoselic went on to join Flipper for a two-year, two-album stint. But the band was also plagued by misfortunes, having lost three members to fatal drug overdoses over the course of a six-year time period. A more recent setback came in 2015, when frontman Bruce Loose finally stepped down after suffering back problems for two decades. The current Flipper lineup includes two founding members — guitarist Ted Falconi and drummer Steve DePace — as well as Jesus Lizard’s David Yow, whose pitch-be-damned vocals are strangely evocative of PIL-era John Lydon, The Fall’s Mark E. Smith, and those yowling cats who’ve taken to copulating outside your bedroom window.
Seemingly against all odds, the band is now celebrating its 40th anniversary with a four-month American tour, which will be followed by a three-week, 18-city sprint across Europe. For an act that was once dismissed as “the band you love to hate,” they must be doing something right.